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Thread: Leaving co-sleeping 18 month with Daddy for 3 nights

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Question Leaving co-sleeping 18 month with Daddy for 3 nights

    Just Wanted to Update this thread:
    Daddy and Little Girl did just fine. The first night she had him up every hour saying "Mumma!" and "Muk!" and he gave her a sippy of water, and patted her back to sleep in the bed. The next night she slept in her crib until 5am! The last night she was up a few times, but not as many. In answer to Yellow's question, she drinks cow's milk during the day so it was just her being used to night nursing I was worried about. It all seemed to work out fine.

    The only issue now is that since I have been back, she's become exceptionally clingy (and she was very much so to begin with) and if I'm in the house she has to be near me or on me. I'm hoping that this will just pass once she realizes I always come back and once we get back on my normal teaching schedule in the Fall.

    Thanks for all your help and suggestions!


    Hello All,
    Wow, I haven't been on here since my little one was 9 months! Didn't know if we'd still be bf by 18 months, but she seems to be even more interested now than she was at one year. I don't mind (except for the crazy wiggles and twists involved with nursing a toddler). She usually wants to nurse to sleep after her bath. We co-sleep, and she usually starts out in her crib next to the bed and usually wakes between 1am and 3am to come into our bed and nurse back to sleep. Some nights I can get her back into her crib until between 4am and 6am but some nights she's there for the duration.

    Next week I'll be gone for 4 days/3 nights at a conference, leaving my little one with my husband, who is a stay at home Dad. So they are very comfortable together (although she still does seem to prefer Momma...poor Daddy). But I am worried he'll have a tough time of it during the night, since she's so interested in nursing. He can usually get her to calm down and go back to sleep if I slip out of bed early in the morning, but I just want to try to make it as easy as possible for them while I'm gone. My goal was to let her self-wean, so I've been doing the don't offer, don't refuse strategy, but now that I'm home during the summer (I teach college), she seems to want to nurse whenever I'm sitting still, even if just for a few seconds. I'm wondering what the effect will be on her and me after this time apart.

    Any advice?
    Thanks!
    Last edited by @llli*allynpsych; July 24th, 2013 at 12:00 PM. Reason: Update

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,406

    Default Re: Leaving co-sleeping 18 month with Daddy for 3 nights

    I have a few ideas, I temporarily night-weaned my oldest son at about this age so most of this comes from that experience:

    Daddy cosleep with baby as needed.
    Pumped/expressed milk in a bottle or sippy at bed or naptime
    Simple healthy snacks & water by the bed (nursing at night is still sometimes about hunger and thirst.)
    If there is a typical nap and bedtime rhythm that is working, don't change it much while mom is gone.
    If however, baby simply will not sleep and dad is frustrated:
    If TV is something dad enjoys, let dad take fussy kid to couch or wherever for some non-stimulating, non-scary TV in the night. Like TVLAND or cooking shows or baseball or something. This is just to help dad cope should baby be giving dad a rough night.
    Alternative-take baby somewhere safe to play-playroom or whatever, and dad takes a book or whatever.

    Some babies will wean abruptly when there are separations like this, others, it is no problem and they go right back to nursing without a blip. I suggest, if you would prefer that baby not wean like that, one way to encourage baby to keep nursing would be to go ahead and offer to nurse some times, either or both prior to leaving and after returning. Don’t offer/don’t refuse is a "mom led' weaning strategy, although of course a very gentle one.

    Will you be pumping or hand expressing while you are gone? You may want to plan for that, for your own comfort.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: Leaving co-sleeping 18 month with Daddy for 3 nights

    Thank you for the suggestions. I haven't pumped since Jan, but I'll take my hand pump with me for comfort in case I feel too full. I might be able to pump some before I go...don't know why that didn't occur to me. I'll remember to suggest that my husband keep her water cup by the bed. I'm hoping this doesn't cause her to wean while I'm gone. I still pretty much nurse on demand -- some days she asks a lot, some very little.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Leaving co-sleeping 18 month with Daddy for 3 nights

    they'll be fine; they'll figure out their own routine while you're gone, and it will probably be easier than you imagine! i would expect her to go straight back to nursing when you get home, but it is also (rarely?) possible she'll wean as meg says. pumping ahead is of course totally ok but also not necessary - she's used to nursing when you're there and not when you're not, and she's old enough now to know the difference and substitute other foods. and yes, bring your pump. i was away like this at 21 months and surprised that i did not need to pump, but at 18 i bet i would have.

    good luck! (from another college prof with a sahd)
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Leaving co-sleeping 18 month with Daddy for 3 nights

    Thanks for this post - I have a similar dilemma coming up - will be away for 2 nights, leaving exclusively breastfed 16 month old with daddy. In our case our babe has never taken a bottle (sweet, yes, but also tiring!) And he's yet to have milk from another source. I fear he will be missing the boob, and wonder if he will accept pumped milk in a sippy cup. So far he's only had water in a sippy cup (I hate pumping & I'm stay at home, so always from the breast works for us). I suppose we could practice with the pumped milk in the sippy cup...I just hate to pump if it's not necessary & haven't done so in over 8 months? I'm also fearful thathe'll wean in the short time that I'm gone... I'm so nervous about that that I wonder if it's worth the trip...

    Anyways, *allynpsych, I'm curious if you've introduced other forms of milk to your baby, and expect that she'll have that while you are gone. Or if you were imaging that she'd just go without milk for a few days. (sounds like you were not initially planning on leaving pumped milk for her). In my case, I haven't pumped in so long, I wonder how challenging it would be for me me to pump enough to leave for him in my absence. Guess I'd have to give myself extra time to get ready. Also curious if pumping will be necessary while I'm away so as to keep my supply up, assuming he does want to continue when I return.

    Thanks for sharing - nice to know others have the same concerns.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Leaving co-sleeping 18 month with Daddy for 3 nights

    yellow, i think the most likely scenario is that he'll do just fine even without pumped milk (though he'll need other milk or water), and he'll go right back to nursing when you're home. i think you probablly will want to pump, at least for comfort, while you're gone. not 8 times a day, but maybe 3-4 depending on how you feel & how much he nurses now?
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

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